Which Injury Specialist: Chartered Physiotherapist

When to go, what to expect

Posted: 5 June 2000
by Rob Watts

Practice Physiotherapists use a variety of treatments to help muscles and joints overcome injury and work to their full potential. These treatments include: exercise programmes to improve mobility and strengthen muscles; manipulation and mobilisation to reduce pain and stiffness; electrotherapy such as ultrasound to break down scar tissue; acupuncture; hydrotherapy; and massage.

Minimum qualification Three-year degree course or longer, signified by the initials SRP (State Registered Physiotherapist) and MCSP (Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists). Beware physiotherapists without these qualifications: they may have only completed a short physiotherapy course, and they are not required to have insurance.

Injuries treated Ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, shoulder and back pain, leg-muscle pulls and strains, and other overuse injuries. They will also provide postoperative therapy and care.

When to go If your injury hasn’t cleared up after five to seven days of applying RICE treatment at home. Runners drawing close to an important race may want to visit their doctor immediately to ask for a referral.

What to expect A musculoskeletal evaluation that will include a medical history and an examination of your range of motion, strength and flexibility. The therapist will also review your training programme to determine how the injury occurred – and how to prevent it recurring. Once the cause is diagnosed, the therapist can design a specific rehabilitation programme to treat the injury.

Case study Andrew Strong, a club runner from Grimsby, didn’t want treatment to infringe on his 60-mile-a-week build-up to the London Marathon, despite a niggling pain in his right ankle. He visited a physiotherapist reluctantly, who confirmed a torn ligament, although Strong had no recollection of turning the ankle at all. “The injury had been with me for almost a year, although I’d always tried to put it to the back of my mind. It would have been much better to have gone to the physio before.”

A few stretches were prescribed, and after three sessions, which included ultrasound treatment and massage, the injury had cleared up. “I was amazed. I didn’t miss a day’s running. At first I had to concentrate on steadies rather than faster work, but after 10 days I was back on the hard stuff. And I still ran a PB at London!”

Cost of treatment £30-35 for an initial consultation, then £25-£30 for each following consultation. If you are seeking treatment on the NHS, you will need to be referred by your GP, and you should expect a two- to three-week wait for treatment.

Contact Chartered Society of Physiotherapy; 020 7306 6666; e-mail csp@csphysio.org.uk; www.csp.org.uk

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Discuss this article

After accepting the challenge to do the Great North Run for charity, sometime in the spring, I have spent the last seven months in training.

I've gone from the "I know I should run today, but (insert excuse)" stage to the "I'm really looking forward to todays run" stage, putting in about 20 - 25 miles per week.

I am enjoying it immensely and really seeing the benefits, but now I have the occupational hazard of us all..... An injury.

Following a five mile race, with an energetic circuit training session two days later I woke up with knee pain which has since been diagnosed as (minor) knee ligament damage.

Two weeks rest and a course of tablets and I thought I'd venture a quick treadmill and bike session. Problem is,it's not much better and the frustration is....... well I guess most of you know what the frustration's like.

The point of this rambling is that I'm worried, a. that i'm going to be struggling in the GNR and; b. all the hard work so far will have been for nothing.

Posted: 23/08/2002 at 20:55


Sorry to hear about this.

Knee trouble is pretty common, and in my view is the most commonly mis-diagnosed of all injuries. I have seen fellow runners ripped off for £100's and treated for things that cannot possibly have caused their problem.

I know it's massively frustrating when your knee starts hurting, and wish I could diagnose the problem over the internet. However, it's impossible.

I recommend that you bite the bullet and invest about £30 in a consultation with a Chartered Physiotherapist with specialist interest in sports injuries. Important - make sure it's a chartered physiotherapist, not a chiropracter, or anything else.

If you just end up with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, it will be money well spent - its expensive up front, but a lot cheaper in the long run.

Wish I could help more - good luck - I'm sure that it can be fixed.

Posted: 23/08/2002 at 23:14

Thanks Gavin.

If it starts me on the road to recovery then I don't mind paying for it (although I might be able to get it free through work). I will be taking your advice next week, as I can't see that leaving it is going to improve things any time soon.
Posted: 24/08/2002 at 21:28

I disagree with Gavin - a chiropractor sorted my knees out in no time when a few years back I thought I'd never run again. They're not quacks - it's a very specialised qualification and this bloke knew what he was doing, but horses for courses...

Posted: 24/08/2002 at 22:28

I have knee ligament problems and ive found that gluecosamine sulphate helps immensly. Im told that it help rebuils damaged ligaments and since taking it i have little or no knee pain after doin sports.
Posted: 13/10/2003 at 19:31

I can also testify that Glucosamine suplements such as Joint Aid are great for knee problems. They're available at most Super Drug stores at less than a tenner. Also you can take Extra Strength Cod Liver oil capsules alongside the Glucosamine tabs. Strengthening muscles around the knee like the hamstring and those in that area (don't know what they're called) is also good to avoid repeating the injury.
Posted: 14/10/2003 at 20:02

I too am having problems with my knee; after about 5 miles running the front of my knee starts hurting which then goes to the back of the knee and is quite painful and slows my pace down considerably. I am resting at the moment hoping that this will do the trick - I too find this very frustrating. I can not think how I obtained the injury; my other knee appears ok.
Posted: 28/07/2004 at 13:20

my knee can only be described as 'buggered'- having had two ligament cruciate reconstructions and a cartilage menisectomy....
Anyway, the best advice that was given to me by my physio was just listen to your body, when it starts to ache... stop!
But in the meantime, you must try and build up more strength and stability for your knee, which can be done by leg extensions/squats in the gym.

Posted: 28/07/2004 at 13:26

Important to know which ligament's been damaged in order to know which exercises will strengthen it, and at what stage of the healing process it's safe to do them. IMHO a physio consultation (maybe just the one) would be worth it. Helped me a lot when I trashed my aterior cruciate and collateral ligaments skiing
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 13:43

I too am having knee probs (recurrence of previous knee injury) and i have a half marathon in Sept and my training has gone to pot! I decided to go and see a sports physio and am currently undergoing treatment. I am also seeing a podiatrist and this may be worth it for you - a lot of knee injuries are due to the incorrect support from your trainers. I have been off running for about a week and the prob has got better and I have also had to do strengthening exercises on my legs. I used to heavy weights on my legs (leg press and squats) and the problem did go away but as I started putting on too much muscle on my thighs (being female and that and not liking it) I stopped the weights on my legs completely and thought that with all the other exercise I do anyway, my legs will remain strong, but I have learned that even for running you need strong leg muscles and you have to keep the weights up.
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 15:01

I usually get stiffness on the two outside muscles at the back of my knees. Particularly sore when bending down and then trying to straighten up again. This happens after every run even with some warm-ups and warm downs. I love going out running but this is beginning to put me off.

At the moment, I am generally doing 3 or 5 mile runs twice a week, the soreness stops me doing any more until it eases.
Posted: 18/08/2004 at 19:43

Wondered if someone may be able to give me some advice. Three months ago I rammed my Landrover under a stationary articulated lorry (believe it or not, I didn't see it there...). No horrendous injuries (although fun ride in air ambulance) and then started to run/exercise/swim again about 6 weeks ago. Unfortunately, found myself in hospital for four days with a 'displaced pelvis' apparently from the crash. Have received duff advice from ortho. surgeon 'rest it' and duff advice from GP 'here's some anti-inflams'. Running doesn't seem to cause any pain but I have no idea how this will fix itself or if I'm doing any more damage by running. Any advice?
Posted: 24/08/2004 at 14:07

Dear Northern,

It's always hard knowing where to start after an injury like that because it's always in the back of your mind that you might do some more damage. If you didn't fracture your pelvis then chances are you're ok as it's a very stable structure but you may have damaged your sacroiliac joints or symphysis pubis joint which could become apparant when you step up your training. I would start off with some light gym work and some swimming to ease back into things but very importantly think about doing some exercises for your core stability (like pilates) as after something like this, your core muscles get very lazy and won't be supporting your back or pelvis properly which might lead to further problems. A session with a physio might be quite helpful for you - they would be able to assess your pelvis and the joints around it to determine if there are any obvious problems and give you some advice about core stability exercises. Once you have upped your fitness levels a bit you could start run/walk progressing to running.
Hope this helps and that you're out on the road again soon!
Posted: 28/08/2004 at 11:30

Filbert, I hope you managed the GNR OK! I have only just registered on this site, hence the tardy reply.

Earlier this year I had fairly serious knee ligament damage. At the time I didn't think I would walk properly again never mind run. This was after a return to running after 20 odd years, I really thought that I had damaged my knee beyond repair.

A course of treatment with a physio sorted me out. Basically I was given exercises to do that strengthened the muscles surrounding the knee, and that with gentle jogging/running sorted me out. I would also vouch for the Glucosamine supplements, along with Cod Liver Oil. They were recommended by the physio. I can truthfully say that the pain in my knee has gone.

I started running again in August, managed the FLC 5K fairly easily last month, and am now looking to do a 10K next month, and a 10 miler in December.

Best of luck to you.
Posted: 05/10/2004 at 23:00

i will be running in my 1st FLM next year but like others on this thread have a knee problem which started a couple of runs ago, it starts after about 4-5 miles although i dont get any swelling it feels like someones hit my kneecap with a hammer, i know im pi**ing in the wind but has anyone else had these symptoms and how can i resolve it.... it normally eases off after a day or so....im lost at mo and fear i might miss the FLM if it persists, ive been distance running for the past couple of months now but the last couple of weeks have scuppered my traing plans.....help...
Posted: 12/12/2006 at 22:40

i to have a knee problem that comes and goes while i am running.i am training for my first half marathon on may 10 in leeds.i have also developed a sharp pain in my groin area that gets worse when running downhill.what is this,can anybody help?
Posted: 21/04/2009 at 22:17

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